When you are young, grandmothers seem so very old -- ancient, even. They favor knitting over Angry Birds, think texting is something you do on a skateboard, and prefer shopping at Sears for their 'comfortable slacks' rather than snagging a pair of cute skinny jeans at GAP. When you are young, even your own parents seem old-ish.
My expectations about midlife, and having a white picket fence around my home, obscured the real view.
I'm pretty sure my about-to-be two-year-old granddaughter, Kyla, loves me. When I'm visiting her and leave for five minutes to use the toilet, she cries. I've never been made so happy by someone else's unhappiness.
I'm noticing that my friends mean more to me than they ever did. My children are now my best friends. My husband is still the love of my life. My dogs make me laugh on even the worst day.
When you get undressed at night and Cheerios fall out of your bra; when your arms and legs are embellished with bandaids featuring the Muppets and Dora the Explorer and your shoes, purse and glasses cases are studded with an eclectic collection of stickers.
As Ann's garden became my own, I began to understand the passion that we humans have for transforming the earth with our bare hands, not to grow food, but to hold our memories. This is our way of putting ourselves into the earth.
The night of my 30th birthday, I fell asleep in my mother's childhood bedroom. The next morning, my grandparents served me Entenmann's crumb cake. It was the first birthday I celebrated without a date in 10 years. I felt whole and at peace.
I recently had lunch with some close friends and, as we were laughing about the exploits of our children, one of them blurted out 'I really want grandchildren.' As soon as she said it, I immediately chimed in, 'Oh my God, so do I.'
The first time I learned what divorce meant, I was seven and a half.
My grandmother's birthday was this week. She was born in 1877 and would have been 136 years old. And when, in her honor, I looked at some family photos, I discovered something that I had not noticed before.
I am so blessed to have my eldest granddaughter and my other two grandchildren in my life. I can't wait for next May when they are both standing in a temple celebrating their 13th birthdays. Life is full of joys and sadness. I am so lucky to be able to stand straight and feel the love.
Now that mom is ten years older and living alone, the brilliant new technology for her isn't shiny, available in multiple colors, made by Apple or even Internet-based. It's cellular. It's subtle. It keeps her connected and living safely in her own home.
We have a very low success rate of saving in the United States, and we are passing this legacy of spending on to our kids. We need to see that our children are taught these skills so that they can grow up to be financially literate, and we need to start young.
We would all do well to remember Mother Teresa's wise words: "There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread."
For me, becoming a grandmother felt like a greater transition than motherhood was. Motherhood held promise, youth and fertility. Becoming a grandmother reeked of age.
Books, magazines and online articles abound with ideas for bringing older and younger generations together in activities that promote bonding between the ages. But who would have thought that a tax preparation event would do that -- and pay big dividends for those who took part?